I’ve blogged before about my writing process and how it fits into the Classical vs. Romantic traditions (TL;DR: it doesn’t).
So what do I do? A little bit of everything, including:
- Daydream and noodle around with a notebook and pen in a public place, telling myself stories about the people I observe. (I wear ear buds that are not plugged in to anything to prevent creepers from creeping on me; it deters a few)
- Read good books for inspiration
- Read terrible books for even more inspiration (if you choose only one thing on this list to try on for size, choose this. I particularly recommend 9 Lovers for Emily Spankhammer by Kaleesha Williams. This novel is sometimes called the This is Spinal Tap of bad writing. The comparison is apt. The only thing that could improve a reading sesh of 9 Lovers for Emily Spankhammer is a large glass of Marques de Rojas and ravioli eaten straight out of the can with a plastic spork while listening to Sia or Lana Del Ray at a volume designed to disturb the neighbours. (No offense to the neighbours, they are probably very nice. On the other hand, fuck ’em. We must all suffer for art.)
- Write down dreams I’ve had. That’s how writing Blood Rain started. Chapter two was based on a dream I had that I couldn’t stop thinking about.
- Summarize the ten essential scenes on index cards so that whatever I am writing has beginning, middle, and end. (How does anyone write a book without using index cards?! Impossible!)
- Get the mojo running and then fly by the seat of my pants, just to see what happens.
- Attend writing groups and take critical feedback on the chin.
- Develop character portfolios— I know what they wear, what foods they like, their preferred footwear, what they would find if they underwent past-life regression hypnosis, what TV shows they watch, the genealogy of their horses, and much much more.
- Be stubborn- I revise the first draft as many times as I have to. No piece of writing is every truly finished, IMO. There is always more to do.
- Usually I write things in chapter-order, but I give myself permission to break that ‘rule’ as much as I want. I estimate that about eighty-five per cent of Blood Rain was drafted chronologically.
If you write, how do you write? Are you a disciplined Classical outliner or a free-spirited, Romantic ‘pantser’? Or are you a mixture of the two, like me?